Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Pottery Bloggery Eyes


The potter blogger has different eyes. That is, the potter who writes, journals, blogs has different eyes. Since blogging offers all kinds of ways to share information about one's thoughts, various tools can be used, besides the written word. I started blogging in 2007(?) with the intention of polishing the words I use to describe this visual language of pottery I speak. At first I was pretty shy. But eventually my thoughts flowed a little easier. Yesterday's post woke me up to the fact that my writing and thinking brain had become pretty mushy from my six month sabbatical. But I will forge onward and try to be at least half as clear as John Bauman can be when he leaves his comments!

Back to the visual thing. Seeing is believing. Seeing depends on one's perceptions. How do you see the world, half full or half empty? Do you dream in black and white or in color? One of the first things I do when I walk through the door of my shop is to make sure I have the camera ready to go. Batteries charged, available memory in the card, tripod ready. The camera and the pictures I take have become an important way, or maybe another way, to "see" the pots, the studio, the things that I walk past in the field. I guess we all have blind spots. We choose what to see after years of practice of putting blinders on. The camera helps me overcome my blind spots. It also sees without prejudice. With its macro focus it helps me see things I can't really see with my naked eye.

As I began to keep this online journal to sharpen my writing skills, photography became an equally important way of expressing what I was seeing and thinking in the shop. So much so, that it was only after I had looked at the pictures of the day did a narrative for the blog emerge.
The photography fed the narrative of my studio life. For a while, you wouldn't see me without my camera. I was a pesky shutter bug wherever I went. Seeing through the lens of the camera became very important in how I saw everything around me. It gave a second opinion, like squinting does for most of us. The camera gave me a second perspective as standing back from one's work does after working with your head down.

During a firing, I keep a log. I usually record temperature, cones, damper settings, etc. but I'm not writing it down to remember later. I'm writing it'd own to remember it now! (I stole that line) I do refer back to the logs of past firings, but really what I'm doing is writing things down to map a course, to make changes, to affect the right changes in the firing. The blog and the pictures help me to affect a similar change in the work I make, or at least they have become such an influence by the vigilant writing of the blog. These effects of blogging weren't expected at the onset, but they have found their way into the work flow, just as the results of a firing enter into to my subconcious. Scott wrote eloquently about this phenomenon recently, here.

This is the critical role of my blog. It is a tool to pry open our eyes and our perceptions.

Next: Clay on your Hands